signatures | ,

In the fast lane



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©Jessica Segal

London. Late afternoon.

A highway for wheels.

A wheel hits a crease and someone falls to the ground. There’s no light stop or speed limit. The only rule is if you’re on the floor, you get up and go again.

Mowgli something they call him. He has skates for feet and he rolls on and off the ledges of things. His legs bend like bones have gone missing. He’s this highway’s play-doh man.

Wheels go up a blue and pink and yellow ramp. They come down one with a green tag. Someone rides over the grey concrete floor. It’s the guy with the long blonde hair.

A girl. One girl.

Her name is Roxy and she lives in the island of waves and coconuts and palm trees and she’s following the wheels on this trip. The wheels that take her to a friend’s ramp in a warehouse in Switzerland in a town whose name she can’t recall. But the name doesn’t matter because it’s not about the town, it’s about the altitude of the slope she was able to hit.

There’s no light stop or speed limit. But if you’re on the floor, you get up and go again.

Roxy works in a Thai food truck at the edge of the water. For her, it’s no shoes at work, only sand and bare feet. But today it’s London and she’s wearing torn brown sneakers, one with white laces, the other one with black ones.

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©Jessica Segal

Grey.

Grey like the railing on that staircase. Black like the dirt on everyone’s trousers. White like the bandages covering people’s hands.

Stevie Wonder enters the scene. He takes distance from the aim and comes rolling in full speed. He goes up the ramp, skates in front of the “Emergency Exit” where two male nurses stand outside the door smoking cigarettes, jumps over the railing, caresses the sky and lands on his two feet.

There’s two words outside the off licence in Sendhall Court: Wine Shop. Inside, their fridge is stocked with Red Stripes. There’s no drinking and driving but one sip of beer might just make the wheels ease against that vertical wall these characters are about to hit.

There’s no light stop or speed limit. But if you’re on the floor, you get up and go again.

Larry is also here today. He’s been in London for two months, following the wheels, the ramps and the girl of his dreams.

“I wouldn’t know what I would do without it. You know how life can get really hectic when you’re growing up?” he says.

I guess it’s not all games, play-doh castles and magic tricks.

A romantic of sorts, it’s Larry’s turn to hit the rolling street. His grey skates all buckled up, charging with speed, he turns around before the big leap.

“Well this is the thing that keeps you moving.”

And off he goes where there’s no light stop or speed limit. But he knows the only rule is if you’re on the floor, you get up and go again.

Author: Laura Steiner

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©Jessica Segal

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